New Delhi, Oct 8 (PTI) Union minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday attacked the Congress for allegedly targeting the media and said trampling on media freedom will not be tolerated by the people of India.
His reaction came after the Mumbai Police claimed to have arrested four persons in a Television Rating Points (TRP) manipulation racket and alleged that Republic TV was also involved in it.
In a tweet, Javadekar, the Information and Broadcasting Minister, said, 'Free press is a defining feature of our democracy and a cherished ideal of the Constitution. Trampling on media freedom will not be tolerated by people of India.' 'Targeting of the media by #Congress and its allies is against all principles of democracy and is unacceptable,' he added.
BJP president J P Nadda also targeted the Congress over the issue.
'Shooting the messenger is an art the Congress, their allies and eco-system have mastered. They’ve been unapologetic about it since the Emergency. Their assaults on @republic and trampling over media freedom will never be tolerated by the people of India,' he tweeted.
'If the Congress, their allies and eco-system feel their incompetence and inefficiency can be hidden by whimsical witch-hunts against media, they are mistaken. Instead, they should learn what democracy is and practice a democratic temperament,' he said in another tweet.
Earlier in the day, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh told reporters that Republic TV channel, facing flak over its attack on Mumbai police and Maharashtra government in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, was also involved in the 'false TRP' racket.
The Mumbai Police crime branch, which unearthed the TRP racket, has arrested two persons, owners of two Marathi channels, for manipulating viewership ratings, Singh said.
TRP is a tool to judge which TV programmes are viewed the most and also indicates the viewers' choice and popularity of a particular channel.
Singh said Republic TV channel is also involved in the TRP racket and those responsible will be arrested, be it a director, promoter or any other employee of the channel.
Republic TV, in a statement, rubbished the claims.
Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the channel, said the Mumbai Police chief made false claims against Republic TV as the channel had questioned the investigation in the Sushant Singh Rajput case. PTI AG AQS